Hopper (space travel)
Hopper was a planned unmanned space transport system from ESA . It resembled an airplane and was supposed to be launched from a 4 km long orbit on a sled in French Guiana and then rise to 130 km to deploy a rocket that could then have put satellites into orbit . Then Hopper was supposed to land on an Atlantic island and be brought back to French Guiana by ship. The system should not be operational until 2020 at the earliest and it is estimated that it will reduce the price for transporting a payload into space per kilogram to around 5,000 - 10,000 euros.
A test forerunner of Hopper was Phoenix , which passed a successful glide test in May 2004.
- ESA: Space transporter of the future (planning from 2003)